Vascular stiffness: its measurement and significance for epidemiologic and outcome studies

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008 Jan;3(1):184-92. doi: 10.2215/CJN.03340807.


Arterial stiffness is recognized increasingly as an important component in the determination of cardiovascular risk, particularly in chronic kidney disease and ESRD populations. Although the technique has been around for nearly 100 yr, in the past 20 to 25 yr, pragmatic noninvasive approaches have allowed the incorporation of arterial stiffness measurements, usually in the form of aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), into clinical assessment of patients. In populations with high cardiovascular risk, especially those with ESRD, aortic PWV measurements provide predictive utility independent of the standard brachial arterial BP measurements. This review briefly discusses the history of vascular dynamics, the determinants of PWV, and some of the available technologies in current use and concludes with a section on the relevance of arterial stiffness measurements in populations of particular interest to nephrologists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Techniques, Cardiovascular
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Vascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology